Nevis and Culloden

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The Commando Memorial, Great Glen Way (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As it’s a Wednesday, I’d normally be writing my diary of a scaredy cat today, and I did promise one this week. However, I’ve not done a lot of actual writing work in the week since we got home (although I have been reading lots and making copious notes), so here are some more photographs from the Scottish leg of our honeymoon.

On the Monday we decided to drive through the Nevis range of mountains to see the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, and we took the “scenic route” along the minor roads that run parallel to the canal.

The scenery was stunningly breathtaking and we were additionally rewarded with little surprises here and there, such as the Commando Memorial that stands overlooking the landscape in which our first commandos did their training in the Second World War.

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Caledonian Canal (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I particularly wanted to see the Caledonian Canal, having seen it featured on the BBC’s Coast series. This beautiful stretch of water links several lochs, rivers and lakes so that boats may take a short cut from one side of the country to the other without having to sail around the top.

But once we’d seen Loch Ness (and no, we didn’t see the monster, funnily enough), we wondered where to next.

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The Nevis Range (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then the poet remembered his parents taking him to see Culloden when he was very young, and as I’ve always been interested in Scottish history, that’s where we decided to go.

When we arrived we were delighted to see that it belonged to the National Trust for Scotland and, as National Trust members, we not only saved our admission fee, but also our car park fee – a total of £25.

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Loch Ness. And no, we didn’t … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet said that it had changed a lot since he’d been – a very lot. And we spent a good while exploring the visitor centre and then part of the battlefield. But it was already late in the day and we had to do battle with the Inverness traffic at rush hour on our way back as well.

So off we headed, back to our hotel, getting something to eat on the way. The food really was delicious at our hotel, but we fancied something a bit less … fancy for our last evening in Glencoe.

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Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The next day we were up early and off on the next leg of our trip … but more on that when the pictures are posted …

Yesterday I did quite a lot of work but I was feeling a bit rough. So when the poet called and asked if I wanted to ride shotgun with him on a visit, and get lunch while we were out again, I jumped at it again. This time our sandwiches came from the Co-op, but I had a nice prawn salad and he forced us to have chocolate covered doughnuts …

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Diane at the MacDonald memorial on Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m still washing, washing, washing – and drying it indoors and out, depending on the weather. And yesterday was no exception. I had a packed, full washing line and bedding in the tumble dryer. But yesterday I also had to tidy up the gig list and put out the shout for this weekend’s gigs as well as plug the next Monkey Dust gig too.

I also caught up on the daily competitions and did yet more name change admin online.

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Graves on island in Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

My lovely business manager suggested I take the afternoon off. I argued at first, but then decided to heed his advice as I had lots of reading work to catch up on as well. So I was still working, even if I was taking it easy. When he got home he brought the washing in too, bless him, before cutting the grass.

Today I’m back at the washing – there’s another line-full and more bedding drying in the tumble dryer (just call me Widow Twanky …).

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Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m going to surf the job boards and catch up with emails and invitations there. I also have that new edit to continue with and more reading, writing, research and note-making work to do.

This last picture is one of my favourites from all the Scotland holiday. This was the view from our hotel room. I think the poet has done a lovely job with the light, the colours and the perspective.

I hope you enjoy all of the photographs.

Monday 14 July 2014 – Morecambe Bay

We both had a much better night with all of the animals settling down and the poet feeling a little better with the drugs kicking in – all over-the-counter. Breakfast today was just 2 courses – cereal followed by toast – with fruit juice for me and tea for both of us.

Sunday may have been spent in Cumbria, and we may not have left Yorkshire for our actual holiday home, but today, on Monday, the poet said he felt like a trip to the seaside (or “coast” as they say up here), and as Morecambe is the closest, we spent today over the other border – and in enemy territory – in Lancashire.

We had a lovely ride over along the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, down to Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped off to take some photographs and decided it might be nice to come here for a walk and a picnic beside the bubbling river – weather permitting – later in the week. We watched a shepherd herd his sheep from one side of the dale to another, and were quite surprised when a road hog in a Land Rover overtook us as we waited for the sheep and he almost ran some of the sheep off the road. We thought perhaps he lived there and was a local who knew the road and, quite possibly, the sheep and the farmer. We were still surprised, though, and would have been slammed if we’d done it.

From Kirkby Lonsdale we turned south-west and headed to Morecambe Bay, an area of special scientific interest due to the number of seabirds that migrate there every year. I love Morecambe Bay. I’ve had a holiday there and I went back and interviewed the Sandwalker of Morecambe Bay for an article I sold several times. It was nice to visit with the poet, who thought the sea, which was in, looked like “very thin mud”. Well, he is a Yorkshireman.

We both had our pictures taken with the very famous statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe, and so did the dog. The weather stayed dry for our walk along the esplanade, and we were able to take more pictures and enjoy a fish and chip lunch – although we both had sausages instead of fish – with pop and followed by freshly fried and sugared doughnuts. We bought a jar of assorted rock and a bag of chocolate-coated honeycomb pieces before making our way back to the cottage via the same route, almost, in rain that was actually very low cloud.

We learned that the river in Lancaster is called the Lune, which is the old name for Lancashire. My Yorkshireman was very happy with that. (With apologies to all of my Lancashire buddies …) That meant the old, and therefore real, name for Lancaster would be Lunecaster and the old, and therefore real, name for Lancashire would be Lunecashire, which meant it was a county of Lune-ies … Yes, he was very happy. That made his day.

It was a bit chilly, so first job as soon as we got back was to build the fire – or the poet did. And then he made us some pasta in a cheese sauce with salad for our tea. He really is very well-trained.

Both cats seemed happy today to wander around at will. Domino had already tried to go outside, which is something she doesn’t even try to do at home. Holly had looked out of every single window, without trying to escape – so far. And Rufus … well, Rufus just acted as though he lived there and wanted to play ball. The. Whole. Time.

After tea we settled down in front of the fire and alternately watched the rain fall through the window and the screen pixelate on the telly.

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Eric and Ian having a chat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane and Eric – and Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The various peaks if they could be seen from Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Wormy (and Rufus) pointing to his own crag. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Engraving at the memorial rose garden in memory of the Chinese cockle pickers who died. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The memorial rose garden in memory of the Chinese cockle pickers who died. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Enjoy!